More than 15,000 doctors, nurses, physical therapists, researchers, scientists and others with interest and/or expertise in rheumatology gathered in Chicago in late October for the American College of Rheumatology’s Annual Meeting. The Arthritis Foundation had a contingent of “patient representatives” attending to provide the perspective and voice of people living with arthritis. They fanned out to attend sessions, view and present posters and collect information about exciting new developments in the field. Here are their notes from the final sessions of the meeting.
Our team of Patient Representatives and staff hit the ground running Monday to take in a range of sessions at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the ACR/AHRP (Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals).
Donna Dernier sat in on a session titled “Moving Toward Better Osteoarthritis Management.” In it, Kelli Allen, a research professor of medicine from the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said there is plenty of good evidence that certain behavioral therapies can work to better manage osteoarthritis (OA), but the message is getting lost in translation to the patient. Dernier reports, “The good news is there are agreed-upon strategies that work well to reduce pain and increase mobility. These include weight loss, better sleep patterns, judicious use of pain meds, increased exercise. Unfortunately, compliance isn’t always as high as doctors would like. Causes for this could be: non-shared decision making, a patient’s lack of confidence in the recommendation, or perhaps difficulty in actually getting to [physical therapy] sessions.”
The 2017 American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) Annual Meeting (#ACR17) was in full swing Sunday in San Diego with health care professionals from all over the world in attendance, and the Arthritis Foundation had a cadre of Patient Representatives there to participate and report on what they saw and heard.
One session that received a lot of attention and praise from the Patient Reps was the Association of Rheumatology Health Professional (AHRP) keynote address titled “Exercise is Medicine: We All Need to Say the Same Thing.”
There is growing evidence to support the value of patient engagement in research and healthcare activities. Case studies from drug and device development, academic research, and other healthcare sectors cite the impact of engaging expert patient partners in the design, conduct, and dissemination of research, discovery, and delivery initiatives. Encouraged and facilitated by entities like the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), academic and clinical professional societies are beginning to adopt more patient-engaged strategies as well, like the inclusion of patient representatives at annual meetings and scientific conferences. In 2017, the Arthritis Foundation is partnering with the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) to pilot an Arthritis Foundation Patient Representative program (#AFPatientReps), bringing a cadre of ten highly involved, engaged patients to attend and participate in #ACR17, the ACR/ARHP annual meeting.
The Arthritis Foundation champions the fight against arthritis and we are excited to have thought leaders, such as Rowland W. (Bing) Chang, MD, MPH, as a partner in this fight.
Dr. Chang is a rheumatologist, epidemiologist and health services researcher. He was named chair of the Arthritis Foundation’s board of directors in November 2016.
The Arthritis Foundation is excited to participate in #ACR17, the Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. This year, the 2017 ACR Annual Meeting is taking place Nov. 3-8 in San Diego, California! Close to 17,000 rheumatologists, rheumatology health professionals, fellows-in-training, and exhibitors from more than 100 countries are expected to attend to discuss the latest scientific advances, clinical issues, professional development, and more. We are proud to be amongst the thought leaders in the field of rheumatology.
Approximately 16,800 rheumatology-related health care professionals slowly made their way out of San Francisco as the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting 2015 (#ACR15) came to a close. The conference was jam-packed with more than 3,000 study abstracts and 260 thought-provoking scientific sessions and presentations.
Here are some of the highlights:
On Day One, there was a spirited debate over the long-term use of low-dose corticosteroids in inflammatory arthritis between Dr. Eric Ruderman from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, and Dr. Maarten Boers from VU Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. There is no right or wrong answer; it’s all about weighing risks and benefits.
The news and excitement continue to pour out of the ACR Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Day 3 of ACR 2015 was highlighted by compelling details on the latest research around arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. Check out some of the highlights of those findings below!
Spotlight on Gout
Gout enjoyed a moment in the spotlight: New Zealand’s Dr. Lisa Sparks was on hand to speak about the need for better studies of neutraceuticals — like tart cherry, omega 3 fatty acids, turmeric and vitamin C — for gout. Patients are asking about them, she says, so doctors need to know how to respond. Will treat-to-target become a goal in gout as it is in RA? Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Brian Mandell says there are many good reasons to target getting serum uric acid down to around 6 mg/dL. And UCLA’s Dr. John FitzGerald gave the audience a tour of the drugs in development — one of which could get approved in the near future.
Our team is still here on-site at ACR 2015 and we continue to absorb new and intriguing information stemming from the latest research around arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. Highlights of what we heard over the course of Day 2 are below!
Several presentations on treatments for knee OA were on offer: First, good news for people with OA who take corticosteroid injections in the knee; a study presented by Dr. Tim McAlindon from Tufts University Medical Center found that getting injections every three months over the course of two years did not significantly increase structural damage to the cartilage as previously feared. Chondroitin got a nod thanks to a Canadian study led by Dr. Jean-Pierre Pelletier at the University of Montreal. His study found that chondroitin sulfate was as good as celecoxib (Celebrex) at controlling pain. But – bonus – the chondroitin seemed to slow the progression of cartilage damage by some measures during the two-year study period. Even if the benefit was small, it could mean a delay in knee surgery down the road, said Dr. Pelletier. Another study, also out of Tufts, found that Tai Chi helped pain and function in knee OA as much as physical therapy. But Tai Chi, because it is a mind/body practice also helped improve depression, which is a big problem for people with all different types of arthritis. And a small study out of Brazil of 98 OA patients found that once-a-week ozone injections into the knee for eight weeks seem to help with pain and joint function compared placebo – but larger studies are needed.
The Scientific Sessions of the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting officially kicked off yesterday in San Francisco. More than 16,000 of doctors and related health care professionals from all over the world gathered to hear the latest rheumatology-related research and debate the hottest topics, and our Arthritis Foundation team is on-site joining the dialogue! 2015 is a special year as the ACR’s sister organization, the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (AHRP), is celebrating its golden (50 year) anniversary.
Some of the interesting goings-on: Dr. Daniel Furst, from UCLA, refereed as Dr. Eric Ruderman from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, squared off against Dr. Maarten Boers from VU Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in the great debate over long-term, low-dose corticosteroids — should patients use it in the first six months? How about in the first 3 years? It’s all about weighing risks and benefits.